Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
I struggle with this issue of easy believism. Pray a sinner's prayer and you shall be saved and immediately you receive eternal life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "cheap grace" from his book, Life Together, comes to mind immediately.
David Gushee's article, Jesus and the Sinner's Prayer: What Jesus says doesn't match what we usually say, strike a chord in me.
In my Baptist tradition, especially, we direct people to "invite Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior," an act undertaken using a formula called the "sinner's prayer." Or we simply say, "Believe in Jesus, and you will be saved." But Jesus never taught easy believism. Whether he was telling the rich young ruler to sell all and follow him or telling a miracle-hungry crowd near Capernaum that to do the work of God was, yes, to believe on him (John 6:28-29), he called people to abandon their own agenda and trust him radically. Radical trust calls for both belief and action.
I suggest that we tend to confuse the beginning of the faith journey with its entirety. Yes, believe in Jesus—that's the first step. Yes, invite Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior. Then, empowered by God's grace, embark on the journey of discipleship, in which you seek to love God with every fiber of your being, to love your neighbor as yourself, to live out God's moral will, and to follow Jesus where he leads you, whatever the cost.
I believe we need to review our techniques of evangelism and easy believism. Are we slowly lowering the requirements for entry into the kingdom of God as we have lowered the entry requirements for so many other things in our culture?
Some food for thoughts.
|posted 5 March 2007|
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